Tuesday morning I slept in again, worn out from the evening's run before, so no doubling. I charted a trip home from work, or rather, the Tenleytown metro stop that would take me over the Chain Bridge. Because I hadn't done a morning run, however, I started the run about 2.5 miles up Wisconsin, at the Bethesda station, giving the route the DC trifecta- portions through Maryland, DC and Virginia. The first five miles was mostly downhill, but after crossing the bridge, I was in for a rough climb into Arlington County. Since I was climbing, I figured it was as good a time as any to concentrate on my form, so I did that, thinking about a month from then when I'd have to race on the hills of Mt. Washington. It was hot, but not as humid as the day before. Once I got about seven miles in, I just cruised the rest of the way home. It was still hilly, but they were rolling hills. I ended up with 13.4, for my medium long run.
I was miserably hot on the way to work Monday morning. It was 85 by 8 a.m., and so humid I sweated on a three minute walk to the metro. The temperature only escalated, until about 1, when the temperature topped out at 95, with a 100 degree heat index. Between 2:45 and 3:25, it poured, and dropped the temperature 20 degrees, to 73 from 93. Even if it was humid, I'd still have a good run! I got home, and things were not going as I had planned. The temperature was back up at 85, and the humidity was stifling. I waited an hour, and the temperature rose even more to 87. I couldn't wait much longer, so I decided to head off and try out a new loop in McLean I found, a series of long residential streets without much traffic. It was so humid that I felt like I hadn't since 1998, when I last ran while vacationing in Hilton Head. There was no relief. After my first segment of the loop, I found myself on a trail among some back yards. This didn't seem right, but I decided to go with it. I followed one trail to a park and a schoolyard, and found myself on Kirby. Luckily I was close to Old Dominion, which I thought connected me to another road I needed, so I took it, though it didn't connect me where I expected it. I eventually found my way back to the loop and realized what a great resource these loops were- a hillier Virginia Manor (in Pittsburgh) without all the walkers and kids on bikes, or traffic. As it got dark, I couldn't quite find my way back, so I took the long way and wound up doing 12.5.
My plans to run early fell by the wayside when I made a calculated move to ensure my safety. I woke up at 6:30 to run early and have the rest of the day free to lie around and see Bain's new house. When I went into the dining room, however, I freaked out. It looked like someone was on my couch. I had a reason to be worried:http://firstname.lastname@example.org I called out a few times for the intruder to identify him or herself. Nothing. I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and swung it at the form on the couch. Nothing again. Did I kill it? Oh my god, I was freaking out. I reached down and felt a cool, oxford shirt. What a well-dressed intruder... I pushed on the shirt, and it gave way.with both hands, I groped. more shirt. I turned around and did what i should have earlier- turned the lights on. A pile of my unironed shirts was piled on the couch- I had started ironing earlier in the day and left most of it for later. I realized then that my judgment and coordination were ill-suited for running at this point. I went back to bed and slept until 9:30, at that point too hot to start running. I lazed around most of the day, and wrote off being able to get to Bain's. I thought about trying for 18, but that was just ridiculous, so I decided to take my 18 mile loop, run the first 6, turn around and come back. I thought I hit six miles in 42:12, but upon remapping the loop, it turns out I was actually averaging 6:47 pace. Not exactly how I wanted to start my run, and that explains why I once again stopped wanting to live toward the end of my run. It was somewhere in the mid 90s when I started, though it cooled down to 88 by the time I had finished.
Every now and then you get too confident because a workout or two went well and you think you can throw caution and preparation to the wind and succeed anyway. Well, I got way too confident that I could handle running in the heat. I didn't count the humidity, though. Saturday morning I joined a bunch of GRC guys for Dueling Ferries, a repeated 10-mile loop on the towpath and some gravel roads outside of Poolesville, MD. The plan was to take the first 10 miles easy, refresh with some water and then go after it in the second 10. That sounded like a great idea to me, so I was all for it. I didn't stay out late the night before, but I wasn't in bed by 9. Unwisely, I didn't have a water bottle with me and throughout the evening I got pretty thirsty, and I'm not sure if I ever replaced what I lost. We started the run either really easily or I was just feeling good, because it didn't seem too stressful. A few people made comments about some of the guys going for the record (2:07 something) early, so they might have a more acute sense of what is pushing it. People stopped for water at about 3.5 miles in, but Sloane and I just slowed down and kept going. Eventually the pack caught back up to us and I stayed at the front, and it quickly started speeding up when we hit the roads. I stayed up there until about nine miles, then dropped back a few seconds. I came through 10.1 miles in low 67 minutes, and had some water, but I wasn't feeling great. I decided I would run to the water pump and back, then add on closer to the cars and water bottles if I was able. Skinny Jesus and Murphy were also game for the out-and-back, and I stuck with Jake as we were amazed at how much farther the pump was on the second loop. We swore it was 20 minutes in, at a reasonable pace, but it took us shy of 26 minutes this time.
I was fading by that point, about 13.5-.75 miles in. I poured some water over my head, but it didn't help. Asish and Ian were waiting and they went with Jake, and I took it a lot slower. After a while, I just stopped and walked. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but I think it's what I needed to do. My body was revolting against me. It happened so fast, I was amazed at how my form and will to continue broke down. My neck was burning up, my limbs were going numb and I just couldn't continue. I got back to the starting point, and immediately doused myself with ice water. It felt good, but I couldn't do it fast enough.
I went home and barely moved for a few hours. I took a nap and had dreams about having miles and miles to go on the towpath. Then on my way to a party near Shaw, my friend Alan and I came across a man who passed out in the street and we attended to him while waiting for an ambulance. He had some kind of heat exhaustion, and it was a powerful cautionary sign for me to take a lot better care of myself. Dickson said it pretty well while we ruminated on the way home- when things go south on a long run, they don't take their time getting worse...
After the success of the last few days of running, I was feeling pretty good. I thought a 3x2 mile workout on Thursday would go swimmingly and I could easily push my weekly total to 90 miles. Both assumptions were incorrect. Thursday morning started well enough, with a four-mile Fisherman's loop. Thursday evening, I headed out in 90 degrees for the Greenwich Mile loop. From the get-go, I was feeling tired, but thought I would give it a shot. I was shooting for 10:30s- hitting 5:15 by going 2:37-2:38 for the halves. I was right on pace for the first one, but I slowed dramatically from 1600-2000: I dropped to 5:40 pace. I recovered a bit and came through the first half of the second mile in 2:39, but I was going to have to fight like crazy to hit 10:30. And I failed- finishing in 10:39- not where I wanted to be... I had some water and jogged around, but knew I was done before I got into the meat of the workout. I jogged a four-mile cooldown to the 66 overpass on the W&OD and called it a day, still getting 12.1. I spent a little too much time cleaning my kitchen that night and didn't get to bed as early as I wanted. When my alarm went off at 6:15, I summarily reset it for 7, realizing that with a 20-mile run the next morning, it might be wise of me to take it easy the day before, since I'll be proving myself somewhat. So, I slept in and did three miles on the Fisherman's loop and will do five around Capitol Hill after work. With 12 on Sunday, I'll still hit 85 for the week, and it only makes sense. Tomorrow's 20 miler is an important step for me- I've run that much just thrice before, and only twice in a single effort- my 20-miler in Oct. 2008 and the Marine Corps Marathon. I ran that far in a single day during the Philadelphia Marathon and almost ran that far the day after the Monument Avenue 10k. I'll be fighting the heat and humidity, though I have a few factors in my favor: I'll be running with a bunch of GRC guys so they'll keep my pace under control, plus we're starting slow and then speeding up after 10, so knowing I am halfway there will be a huge confidence boost when the going gets tough. I might bring a change of socks, and I will certainly bring several frozen bottles of water and various sports drinks. It's also not supposed to be sweltering tomorrow- 74 degrees with 75% humidity in Poolesville at 8 am, and of course the temperature will increase and relative humidity will decrease over the next 2+ hours.
I went to see Bela Fleck and Chick Corea at Wolftrap last night with Ben Semmes, who's interning down here for the summer. The weather was perfect- just 30 minutes after I ran in 94 degrees, a sudden storm came through, relieving so much of the heat. I wish I had been able to wait to run. Regardless, I felt like I had reached a point where I was able to stand the heat.
I woke up at 3 am Wednesday after having an absolutely ridiculous dream about a hostage situation involving my friends in Yemen, and while I was up I checked the temperature at it was 70 degrees with 97 percent (!) humidity. There was no way this was going to be better at 6, so I slept in and planned to run when it was hot in the evening.
About 16 hours later, it was 94 degrees and I headed out with a bottle of ice. I got moving pretty quickly, about 7:00 pace, and dropped the bottle off a little more than a mile into the loop, a new one I called the Double Pimmit, because it covers two parts of Pimmit Road, bisected by Route 7. I managed to get down to the 5:50s for the next seven miles so by the time I got back to the bottle and carried it and its now-cold water to mile 8, I had averaged 6:00 pace for the first eight. I took some time to refill and recover and just pour some chilled water on my neck, then back at it. Six minute pace for a little more than four miles to finish in 1:22 for 13.1, astoundingly faster than my Pittsburgh half marathon time that I could have run another mile and still been faster. That's all irrelevant because I jogged so much of Pittsburgh, but it still a nice benchmark.
Elyse suggested running a 5k next Friday night in Alexandria, so I figured why not. Now I know I can handle running in the heat better than ever before. The big tests will be tomorrow's 3x2 mile workout and Saturday's 20 miler.
Throughout the run I had Kenny Loggins' Mr. Night in my head, and the corresponding scene from Caddyshack. It helped. Who needs a music player?
As the title of this post reveals, I really like running in Falls Church. I also think I have started to adapt, albeit slowly, to the climactic situation here in northern Virginia. I left at 7 am for a morning run- 6.8 miles on what is now becoming the standard Park loop. It as 70 degrees with 76 percent humidity, but I managed to run 6:59 pace. In the afternoon, at 6:20, I ran a new loop- the Freedom Lane 5.5, to the north. I started slow, but decided at some point to start pushing the pace. It was 95 degrees, with 40 percent humidity. I think I was about two miles in when I started to push. It wasn't an outright hammering, but I was oriented forward a lot more than I have been for my runs in the heat. I eased up a little bit on Williamsburg after passing Westmoreland, but I drove it home and averaged 6:30 for the 5.5 miles.
It was 71 degrees when I got out the door at 7 this morning. I wanted to get up a little earlier and do a formal hill workout (the Run for Roch is just five weeks away!) but my 16-hour day Sunday wore me down. I ended up doing a little more than 4.5- an out-and-back heading west on the W&OD. I was struggling, just dead legged and beat.
I switched the hill workout to the afternoon- to the Capitol. I'll run hard up and down the hills on the northern and southern sides and jog the flat stretched to the east and west. Six of those and the run to and from the office will be about six miles, giving me 11 for the day.
The forecast looks pretty intimidating this week- highs of 91, 94, 97, 96, 92 and 91. It's fair to assume it will be humid.
During the summers in 2003 and 2004, I worked as a lifeguard at a medium-sized condo community in Pittsburgh's southern suburbs, less than a mile from where I grew up. I spent a gleeful number of mornings running from the pool and finishing by diving into the unheated water. It was absolutely glorious. It was, by no means, anywhere close to as humid or hot at even 10 am there as it was at 7:20 in Washington.
I biked from Falls Church to Logan Circle and started a run from my friend Amy's place. I went up 16th to Harvard then down into Rock Creek Park and along the trails to P Street and back (5.5 miles) to pick up Matt Ciccone, who joined me for a second loop, which was one of his first runs since the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Despite that, and his introduction to the elements, he held up well, though about 2.5 miles in, before he realized, he had better walk, and I gladly obliged him. We ran again after a while, took another short walk, then ran to Dupont Circle.
With the sun at full bore at about 8:45, he had reached his limit and I quickly agreed that it was prudent to stop. I had 10 for the day, and I was pleased. We sat by the fountain, and I just couldn't resist. I pulled off my shoes, rolled into the water and felt better than I had in recent memory. It was no less than "freaking amazing."
I planned to start at 6 am, but I slept in until 8. I needed it, though.
I managed 17 mile at 7:12 pace this morning. I was really getting thirsty the last three miles, about when I hit a stretch with little to no shade. Most of the first 10 miles was downhill, with some notable exceptions, and the rest was uphill, including a huge climb at 10 miles. I thought of trying to make it 18 when I realized I missed a turn toward the end, but once I got to the gate to my complex, I just stopped, walked to the pool locker room, took my shoes off and immediately got under the shower and turned it on cold.
I lost 12 pounds over those 17 miles.
I started off way too fast- 6:33 pace for the first three miles, and tried to slow my pace down to what I'd be doing when I'm dying at the end of a run, while I have the capability to go faster, but that rarely worked. More than an hour later, I am
still aching for water, but I don't want to get bloated, as I am wont to do when I guzzle fluids.
Though I am going to switch today's and tomorrow's mileage for consistency's sake (one long run per week) I technically did 92.5 miles over the last seven days, definitely a personal record. And, I am feeling better now than I did at the beginning of the week. Tomorrow I will do an easy five alone then meet up with Ciccone for another five before we watch some Italian soccer and eat like archdukes.
I'm closing in on 85 for the week, my highest total in memory, perhaps ever. It started horribly- running myself into the ground Sunday morning with mess less hydration than I needed,and gradually cooled off Thursday and Friday.
Friday morning I got up and did an amended Park loop to get seven before work, then a new loop going west on Idylwood, Virginia to Fairwood and back on Buckelew and the W&OD. Cool but very humid in the morning and pretty sunny in the evening.
I'm going to do my long run tomorrow morning, early, because I am staying in tonight to get a good night's sleep- I've been dragging the past few days. If I can get going by 6, I can get 18 in before it gets too hot.
After a pretty miserable Wednesday, Thursday brought some relief. Wednesday evening I was so tired on my way home that I kept falling asleep on the Metro. My attempts to correct my ingrown toenail on my right foot seemed largely useless. When I woke up Thursday, though, the toe was feeling much better. When I stepped outside for my morning four miles, it was a temperate 72 degrees, with 65 percent humidity. At this point, if the humidity is lower than the temperature, I am pretty happy. I cruised along at 6:50 pace. In the afternoon I went to see my ENTs, Dr. Ali and Dr. Chia, about correcting my sleep apnea. The situation is this: my tonsils are gigantic, and they choke me when I sleep, enough that I stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer an average of 26 times an hour. I tried a mouthpiece that was supposed to shift my jaw, but I couldn't sleep with it in my mouth. We discussed surgery, and their expectation was that the resulting pain and weakness would keep me from training for three weeks. The prospect of losing three weeks of training was grim, especially in August, when I planned to have the procedure, so I am delaying it until December, after the cross country national meet. In the evening, I took a quick nap and headed out to do a quick four-mile tempo on the roads. I found what looked like a pretty nice, but somewhat complex, loop in Falls Church that I adapted from the Woodley Loop. I did a stride and headed off. Within the first quarter mile I had already made a slight misstep, starting to turn down a cul de sac. I hit a half mile in 1:40, then almost took a wrong turn again. I hit the mile in 5:14, then headed to what I thought was familiar territory. I covered the next half at 5:17 pace and kept it up for the rest of the second mile, but then things went wrong. I ran a block too far, up to route 7. Though I didn't have to cross the road, I could tell I went wrong. Then, I started to turn onto the right road, then changed my mind. I then realized I was totally off track, but decided to just roll with it. I got back on course for my Woodley loop and finished up a little under 23 minutes, hoping I was somewhere under 5:30 pace. I mapped it out later and I found I went 4.25 miles, averaging 5:23. Not bad, because I definitely didn't have the same drive once I knew my route was shot.
Tuesday morning- A light 3.75 mile loop around Falls Church in high humidity, but a touch of breeze. Not terrible.
Tuesday evening- I ventured to TC Williams High School to talk to the NOVA track club about the 8k, and joined in a workout. A fellow named Dave was planning some ambitious 4x8 and 4x4, so I was game to join him. Unfortunately, I missed a bus that would have gotten me to the track with more time to spare, and I wound up doing one 400 of a warmup before talking to everyone about the race, then another, faster, 400 while everyone was doing strides. It was cooler, probably 80, a nice change from Monday. With a half mile under my belt, I joined Dave with the plan of running some 2:30s. First one- 2:29. Then 2:28, then 2:26. As I ran the third, I started to cramp up, likely from the bare-bones warmup. I cut the fourth 800 off at 400 (75), then ran three 400s (74,73,72) before starting a cooldown. When I switched into trainers, my big toes started throbbing. It was miserable. I got a ride home from this fellow, Mike, and went to work submerging my left foot in warm water and cutting back the nail as much as possible.
Wednesday morning- I woke up with the headache that comes from waking too early when you really haven't had enough sleep. It was medium long run day, and I had 13 miles to go before I got to work. I started out slowly, shuffling down the W&OD trail, with hopes of holding any effort until I reached the Custis Trail, but I was already suffering 3.5 miles in. I pushed decently hard against the pain in my right toe, my fatigue and the humidity. When I got to the Mt. Vernon trail, I stopped and wrung out my socks. The last four miles were pretty unpleasant, but once I hit the mall I was able to gut it out.
I woke up at some point Monday morning (around 3 am) and got up to eat something. My legs promptly failed me and I fell to the ground. Turns out the 18 miles in the heat got to me... I woke up at ran a Park loop, but it was still blazingly hot and stiflingly humid. I averaged 7:30s, I think. I had to stop halfway up Highland and collect myself.
In the evening, I met up with the Lululemon RUN CLUB and did a very easy six with them, mainly staying with Will and Elyse. I struggled there, too. In the end I was just happy to be done, with 12 for the day. While staggering around after the run on P Street wearing a Pharaoh Hounds t-shirt, I heard my name, looked up and saw Jim, Melanie and Mae Hommes! They were in town while Jim does some research into the correspondence of a 19th century missionary. Sadly our schedules did not match up so that we could get in a run together, but it was a great surprise to see them, just an hour after I saw my colleague Bill walking by on his way home from the gym.
As much as I absolutely love DC, I miss the Hounds. That group that got me involved in 2004- Jim, Hack, Hans, Rich, Paul, Shafer, Ryan and Dan were, although older and more family-centric than I, great training partners.
Time to catch up on about two weeks of half-written posts.
I went into Sunday's long run with a lot of momentum and optimism. After a strong day on Saturday, I figured 18 miles would be a cinch. I woke up a bit late, though, and had to jump on the bike right after I got up and head to Georgetown. Either riding fast downhill or pedaling hard uphill, I was getting thirsty, but didn't take the steps to correct it. I arrived in time to talk to the Washington Running Club about the GRC 8k, but soon enough before 8 am that I didn't really have time to relax and rehydrate. We started off and I ran with John, a fellow who runs with the Potomac Runners and lives in Falls Church. We had a good five miles or so together before he turned around and headed back. His son is going to VCU in the fall so I gave him a heads up about what I like about the Richmond area. We were going a little fast, though, and when we stopped for water I noticed how much of a toll our pace had taken on me. I ran with Dan, Max and TJ for a bit until we hit another water fountain, but I needed more time to douse my head. When I stopped, I couldn't imagine running much longer. We were at about nine miles. They other three had moved up ahead and I kept an equal distance behind them for about eight minutes. Then, after crossing a bridge and looking out for a swarm of cyclists, I just stopped. I tried wringing out my socks (disgusting, I know, but get over it) and starting again, but I just couldn't do it. My hands were dry, which made me worried I had stopped sweating. I walked along for a while and realized I had my Metro and debit cards in my pocket, a recent development in my long running after my disaster two weeks ago. I walked a bit farther until I caught a semi-major intersection and caught a cab. The air conditioning chilled my weary frame, draped in wet shorts and a shirt. I reconvened with the group at Dean and Deluca and gulped down two containers of orange juice. Expensive, but delicious.
I went home, watched a movie, and took a nap. At about 7:30, I headed out to finish off my mileage for the day, though it violated the spirit of the single long run. I combined a Pimmit Hills loop with a trip up and down Highland for another eight miles (which felt like they nearly killed me). Afterward I sat in the shower for about 10 minutes and let cold water bring me back to life.
After a late night, partially extended by just missing a Metro from McPherson Square after midnight, I got up at 5:45, ready to bike to the city for a day of running-related activity. Joe and Neal were running the Lawyers Have Heart 10k and the GRC team was manning a few tables to hand out water along the towpath and in front of the Watergate. I was going to catch people after the race and encourage them to run our race. I got going a little late but the ride was relatively easy. I parked my bike near the Glover-Archibald trail, about a mile and a half out from the start of the race, so I'd have a little cushion in case my run didn't go well. I headed off on a pleasant, Wisconsin Ave-centric loop to River Road and Western Avenue, then down to Macarthur. It was humid, but not too warm, and the loop was mostly shaded. Pleasant enough running conditions.
As I finished, I worried I would be late for seeing Wiggy and Neal go by, and I doubted my directions, so I took an ill-suited detour, but recovered, surged the last mile or so and reached my bike with time to spare before the runners came by. I saw Wiggy, then Karl (a surprise) and Neal run by, all looking relaxed. I also saw Lauren, Jessica McGuire, Will and Elyse and someone else I can't recall.
The Run After the Women 5k I went to this DC Road Runners-sponsored evening race to try and drum up more support for the GRC Father's Day 8k. It was in Bluemont Park, a nice plot along the W&OD and Four Mile Run Trails. It's usually the point in my long runs where I am really tired of running and want to stop, so it was nice to be less exhausted. The weather was also generously dry and cooler, probably high 70s and a setting sun. It was really pretty. The races were set up like a high school cross country meet- a women's race first- The Women's Distance Festival, followed by a men's race. I did a 5k+ warmup before and during the women's race. It was an easy out-and-back course, starting in Bluemont Park and heading west on the W&OD Trail almost to Falls Church Park. It was a little bit uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back. We had to share the trail with walkers, joggers and bikers. One such jogger jumped in front of the pack as we were about to start the second 5k. The gun went off and I was back in a race. I started swiftly and this teenager was sticking with me. I kept pretty strong form going over the first quarter mile. I wondered how long it would take to shake this kid. Was he serious? I was hurting already. This running fast business is for the birds. This wasn't easy, I was pushing. I thought there was supposed to be a period of numbness at the beginning of a race... I edged ahead of him when we passed the jogger and started pushing. Also we went under Wilson Boulevard and I could hear his footsteps echo in the tunnel. It wasn't too far, so I was sure anyone could hang for a few minutes. I still heard him behind me as we crossed a wooden bridge, but less threateningly. I focused on maintaining my pace and that's exactly what I did. 5:11....8:04 at the turnaround. A family on bikes stalled on the narrow bridge that the W&OD used. I yelled a few times to get them out of the way. I ended up dodging them and continuing on my way. Two miles in 10:22. Still 5:11 pace. From the turnaround, I could see the kid and some long haired dude, behind me, but not a danger unless I slowed down. So, I didn't slow down. I kept cranking down the slight hill, hoping to negative split myself under 16:00. The pretty tree-line field and accompanying path seemed a lot longer on the way back than on the way out. I saw I was unlikely to break 16, but I kept pushing nonetheless, and broke the metaphorical tape at 16:08. Completely even splits. The boy and long-haired dude followed 20 or so seconds later. Though I was initially disappointed to not have broken 16, it was my fastest 5k of the season (out of three). I ran completely even splits, which speaks to the strength I have built up and the lack of speed I have worked on. I was happy with it, especially considering how rough I felt at the beginning. I had a pleasant 3+ mile cooldown after talking to some potential Fathers' Day runners.
After Tuesday's disastrous long run, things were in bad shape for a while. Wednesday I went to the Washington-Lee High School track (hi Pat Fisher!) and met up with the Potomac Runners to tell them about the Father's Day 8k. I planned to run 11 miles (around the track). The heat around 90, but I hadn't fully recovered from the day before. Also, I had some really sore back muscles that made it hard to maintain my usual form. I eventually got going, but it wasn't comfortable, and I scrapped it after 7.5 miles.
Thursday, I waited a while and followed a storm for a 10 mile run around Falls Church. It was much much cooler, probably 75, and I averaged 6:25s. I enjoyed that a lot.
Friday, I failed to wakeup early enough to run before work, so I tried to force in 12 after work. It didn't work. I was going to head to Roosevelt Island and spend some time there, but my the time I got to the Key Bridge, I was dizzy, thirsty and tired. I headed back to the Mall, around around there and called it a day.
For a long time, I had planned on running the Race for the Cure. It has been a staple of my running for 10 years, and I only missed 2006 when I wasn't allowed to run. Since 2005, I have run it in memory of Kathy Kropf, mother of my high school friend Dan Hersh. She was delightful, a great mother and a wonderful hostess for so many parties in my high school days. She also succumbed to breast cancer after more than a decade. I got home Friday but but was unable to fall asleep. From midnight to 5 am, I tried and failed. I drifted off a little after 5, but could not wake up at 6 to get the bus and train to the mall. I woke up at 10:30 when my mom called to tell me something I couldn't retain. I ended up running a wilting eight miles at 7:10 pace around McLean.
I could tell I was a little thirsty in the afternoon, so I tried to adjust for it. I always underestimate what I will need when I am at the office, sitting pretty still. When I hit the road at 5:30, it was about 86 degrees. I caught a nice breeze on First Avenue and didn't start sweating until 3:15 in. I passed the mile mark at about 6:30, and I knew I had to slow down. With 16 miles left, this was no way to start off. Unfortunately, I just didn't do it. I got going. 6:22 pace through 3.35, then along the Mt. Vernon trail I slowed a little and averaged 6:25 pace through a little more than 6 when I turned onto the Four Mile Run Trail. I made a conscious effort to slow down once I hit Four Mile Run, and things got a little smelly along the creek. When I crossed over at Shirlington, I started to feel a little fatigue, but kept pressing. Crossing Walter Reed Road meant I would have some shade while I traversed a few parks, and that helped a little. When the trail starts to descend to water level, though, I typically feel terrible, and this time was no different. About that time my mp3 player, which I was admittedly cheating by using, shorted out. It was dead weight for the rest of the run because I couldn't listen to podcasts to keep me interested anymore. The climb at Glencarlyn Park was miserable, though not as bad as the first time I ran it. I started wringing out my shirt at this point, and sweat was just pouring out. When I hit Bluemont Park, I was practically jogging. I crossed Wilson and started heading up Alrington Mill, and when I got to the top of the hill I stopped. For a while, I thought I would start jogging again, but it just didn't happen. I wasn't dizzy, but I couldn't spit, there was just no more moisture in my mouth. I shot for 17, got 12.5. Not the long run I had envisioned. I stopped at a water fountain, but it did little to refresh me. I walked another 1.5 miles to the East Falls Church Metro station and rode it home. I had no appetite for the rest of the day, and ate rice and peas only because I forced myself to do so. It was bad. It also made me wonder about my physical limits. How much longer would I have been able to run if I kept that pace up? In all, I averaged 6:59 pace, though it was surely slower in the second half. Adjusting to this summer weather (especially once it officially becomes summer) is going to be my biggest challenge.